This article was originally published on November 1, 2021.

When you hear the name Charles Darwin, what do you imagine? Let’s start with the most famous –the theory of evolution— you know, the one that explains how organisms evolve and survive through natural selection. In 1837, Darwin was not yet 30 years old when he pioneered a new branch of the life sciences called evolutionary biology.

He had just finished a trip on board HMS Beagle, on which he toured South America and spent considerable time in collecting observations on various species of plants and animals. During this five-year adventure, Darwin made a remarkable observation while collecting bird specimens from the Galapagos Islands. He found that the finches on the island share similarities with those on the mainland, but have modified characteristics that allow them to gather food easily.

Darwin concluded that the different finches ultimately belonged to the same set of species. These observations eventually led to the famous theory that evolution occurs through a process of natural selection.

Who was Charles Darwin? Interesting facts about the father of evolution

The story of Darwin’s discovery of the theory of evolution is one with which we are all familiar. What we may not know, however, is that Darwin had quite an adventurous life. Here are 7 things the history books may have failed to mention that make the father of evolution even more remarkable and definitely relatable.

1. Darwin dropped out of medical school.

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He may have been a master of evolutionary biology, but unfortunately Darwin could not master medicine. Born into a family of doctors, Darwin enrolled at the University of Edinburgh in 1825 at the ripe old age of 16. Unfortunately, the man’s interests lay elsewhere as he hated the sight of blood as well as his studies. He dropped out two years later.

2. He appreciated unusual food.

Exotic animals weren’t just in Darwin’s notebooks—they were on his plates, too. obviously Darwin was part of the Gluttony Club at Cambridge University, a group dedicated to devouring strange animals that were unfamiliar to the human palette. The menu includes items like hawks and owls… yum! I guess you can definitely add foodies to Darwin’s list.

3. There is a mountain named after Charles Darwin.

Here’s something most of us can’t say we got as a birthday present: a mountain! On his 25th birthday, Darwin received rather big gift, 2488 meters or 8163 feet to be exact. The gift came from Captain Fitzroy of HMS Beagle. Sitting atop the Cordillera Darwin, a mountain range located in the southwestern part of Tierra del Fuego, Mount Darwin it was a gracious gift.

4. He suffers from some mysterious diseases.

Unfortunately, Darwin suffered from ill health. Ranging from chronic stomach pains to enduring the loss of three children, Darwin had his fair share of mental and physical agony. Despite consulting many doctors, he suffered quietly with no permanent cure.

5. There was a list of pros and cons about whether to get married.

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To marry or not to marry – that was Charles Darwin’s question, at least in his journal where he weighs the pros and cons of marriage.

Pros: children and communication

Cons: Freedom, Travel and of course, Not forced to visit relatives

The kicker… ended up marrying his cousin. Of course, this was more acceptable in his day.

6. He learned taxidermy.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people of color to go unnoticed in science, especially during Darwin’s time. The man who taught the father of the evolution of the art of preserving the bodies of animals is one of them. Darwin learned the dissection from John Edmondstone, a naturalist and former slave. Shortly after receiving his freedom in 1817, Edmondstone moved to Edinburgh and earned a living teaching taxidermy to students at the University of Edinburgh. Shortly thereafter, an intrigued Darwin sought lessons from Edmondstone to learn this invaluable skill.

7. Charles Darwin received an apology from the Church of England…126 years later.

Darwin encountered many proponents of his theory of evolution, and the Church of England was one of them. Now, more than a century later, they did publicly apologized on the misunderstanding of the father of evolution.

This story is part of an ongoing series exploring famous scientists. Read more about the greatest scientists of all time:

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